Spring Is In Bloom!
The Atlanta Braves’ Spring Training Season kicked off this afternoon down in Kissimmee, Florida, as the Braves took on the Detroit Tigers in a 6-5 loss that was ultimately decided by a rain stoppage in the 9th inning.
It was neck-and-neck throughout most of the game, with Atlanta scoring single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th innings, and two runs in the 7th, and Detroit scoring single runs in the 4th and 7th, and two runs in both the 6th and 9th innings. Detroit took the lead when Hernan Perez hit a two-run, two-out single in the top of the ninth inning, and then the game was halted due to rain. The game never resumed, and Detroit was declared the winner as spring games are not suspended and then resumed at a later date.
Rookies, Returns, and Old Hands
As always occurs in the Spring, the Braves want to get a good look at every regular, and every invitee, and this opening game saw some promising early signs from a few rookies, a player returning after a long injury timeout, and some old hands as well. First baseman Ernesto Mejia put together an impressive outing for the Braves, as the 6 foot, 5 inch, 245 pounder went 2 for 3 and scored a run. With increasing pop in his bat in the minors, he’s clearly trying to make a statement about his skills and potential.
Second baseman, Tommy La Stella went 1 for 2 as well, and is certain to be doing all he can to continue to be noticed, especially considering the 2013 struggles of Dan Uggla. While we’re thinking about Uggla, I was pleased as punch to see Dan get off to a good start in Spring as well, as he went 2 for 2 with an RBI, and certainly has no intention of giving up his position easily to La Stella or Ramiro Pena. Pena, returning from a long hiatus on the injured list, went 1 for 1 in his return to live play, and Braves’ fans everywhere hope we see the same production out of Pena we saw pre-injury in 2013. Old hand Chris Johnson, and fast becoming an old hand Evan Gattis, also contributed with hits.
Garcia Deja Vu?
Typical in spring training, a number of pitchers saw action in today’s opener, including Freddy Garcia, Anthony Varvaro, Ryan Buchter, Yunesky Maya, Daniel Rodriguez, Lay Batista, Juan Jaime, and Shae Simmons.
Garcia showed the same kind of poise he showed as a fill-in starter last season, retiring all six batters he faced, striking out two in two hitless innings. Garcia could make it interesting in a race with Alex Wood for one of those regular season starting spots! Pretty nice! By contrast, Ryan Buchter gave up a hit and run in one innings, and Shae Simmons gave up two runs on three hits.
Despite the success of some, and the struggles of others in the spring opener, nobody’s in a panic just yet of course. It’s just game one of the spring, it’s early, and it’s always interesting to see how the spring develops leading into the regular season. Go Braves!